RAEHANN BRYCE-DAVIS, mezzo soprano

7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Raeann Bryce-Davis and Jeanne-Minette Cilliers
Raehann Bryce-Davis in recital
Raehann Bryce-Davis and Jeanne-Minette Cilliers in recital

RAEHANN BRYCE-DAVIS, mezzo soprano

7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Powerhouse mezzo Raehann Bryce-Davis has been making waves in the last few seasons through her high-octane portrayals of such heroines as Azucena in Verdi’s Il trovatore (Washington National Opera, Glimmerglass Festival) and Baba the Turk in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (the role of her 2022 Metropolitan Opera debut). A champion of new works, she has premiered song cycles by composers including Melissa Dunphy and Maria Thompson Corley. The coming 2023-2024 season sees both her role debut as Fricka in Wagner’s Das Rheingold with the Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Gustavo Dudamel and a return to the Met for the company premiere of Anthony Davis’ X: The Life and Times of Malcom X.

Bryce-Davis’ program honored women composers and poets with repertoire including Amy Beach’s Three Browning Songs, Richard Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, and selections by Melissa Dunphy, Maria Thompson Corley, and Peter Ashbourne. Download the program.

Artist Bios

RAEHANN BRYCE-DAVIS has been hailed by The New York Times as a “striking mezzo soprano” and by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “electrifying sense of fearlessness.”

In the 2022-2023 season, Ms. Bryce-Davis makes noteworthy house debuts at Washington National Opera as Azucena in Il Trovatore, at the Royal Danish Opera in her role debut as Amneris in Aida, and with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Dutch National Opera & Ballet in her role debut as Jezibaba in Rusalka, conducted by Joana Mallwitz. She also makes a notable debut on the concert stage, singing with the BBC Proms as a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Additional concert engagements include the world premiere of A Nation of Others with the New York Oratorio Society at Carnegie Hall; a tour titled Our Song, Our Story, curated by Damien Sneed; and recitals for the George London Foundation and 89 Reade Series.

In the 2021-2022 season, Ms. Bryce-Davis made house debuts at the Metropolitan Opera as Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress conducted by Susanna Mälkki, and at La Monnaie, Brussels as La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica. She returned to both Los Angeles Opera and the Staatstheater Nürnberg as Azucena in Il trovatore, and to Opera Ballet Vlaanderen as the Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos. On the concert stage, she joined the Chautauqua Institution for a performance of Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road and sang solo recitals at both the Tuesday Musical Club in San Antonio, Texas, and for the Merola Opera Program.

Highlights of recent seasons include her role debut as Eboli in Don Carlos at Opera Ballet Vlaandren, her house debut at Los Angeles Opera as Big Stone in the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice, and her role debut as Sara in Roberto Devereux also at Los Angeles Opera, opposite Angela Meade and Ramón Vargas and conducted by Eun Sun Kim. She has sung Léonorein Donizetti’s La Favorite at the Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Marguerite in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust conducted by John Nelson with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica, both Ms. Alexander in Satyagraha and Nezhata in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, Kristina in Janáček’s The Makropulos Affair at the Janáček Brno Festival, Wellgunde in Wagner’s Die Ring-Trilogie at Theater an der Wien, and Madeline Mitchell in Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers at Opera Maine. raehann.com


South African-born pianist JEANNE-MINETTE CILLIERS has been hailed as “a pianistic poet,” garnering rave reviews for her color-rich and imaginative performances.

In high demand as a collaborator, Ms. Cilliers has performed in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Israel, Japan, Russia, Sweden, South Africa, Barbados, and across North America, including festivals and venues such as the Irving S. Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Ravinia Festival, the Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Cuvilliés Theater in Munich, and the Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. She is a regular recital partner of mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis, with other collaborators ranging from performers such as Janos Starker, Martina Arroyo, Eric Owens, Susan Graham, Joyce Castle, Lise Lindstrom, Lester Lynch, John Holiday, Justin Hopkins, Toby Girling, Victoria Yarovaya and Bo Skovhus, to conductors Alejo Pérez, Peter Rundel, Antonino Fogliani, Dmitri Jurowski, Cornelius Meister, Alexander Joel, Tomaš Netopil, Alberto Zedda, Harry Bicket, John Nelson and directors Peter Sellars, David Alden, Peter Konwitchny, Calixto Bieito and Claus Guth, as well as actor Vanessa Redgrave.

Ms. Cilliers fosters a strong interest in new music, and has presented several scores in world and North American and European premieres. Prominent contemporary composers with whom she has worked include Dominick Argento, William Bolcom, Jake Heggie, John Corigliano, Mark Adamo, Theodore Morrison, G.F Haas, Sven-David Sandström, Rolf Martinsson, and Mohammed Fairouz. As head of music, she assisted conductor Titus Engel at Opera Vlaanderen (Belgium) and IRCAM, Paris in the widely acclaimed world premiere of Chaya Czernowin’s opera Infinite Now. Also at Opera Vlaanderen, she worked with composer Héctor Parra and conductor Peter Rundel on the operatic adaptation of the controversial novel Les Bienveillantes. In this production, staged by Calixto Bieto, Ms. Cilliers also performed the on-stage piano part on a flying piano.

These performances are external rentals presented in coordination with the Kennedy Center
Campus Rentals Office and are not produced by the Kennedy Center.

“Vibrant, characterful mezzo Raehann Bryce-Davis gave an invigorating recital in the George & Nora London Foundation’s series at the Morgan Library, sensitively accompanied by Jeanne- Minette Cilliers. Vocally and dramatically, Bryce Davis has a presence and a half…Unlike many performers with large voices, Bryce-Davis was able to make her words clear and her vocal attacks clear in this intimate space.”

David Shengold, Gay City News

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